Isabelle J. Dionne, PhD, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports, University of Sherbrooke; Research Centre on Aging, Geriatric Institute of Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, QC.
Martin Brochu, PhD, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports, University of Sherbrooke; Research Centre on Aging, Geriatric Institute of Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, QC.
There is a high prevalence of obesity in older adults up to the age of 80. While women generally gain body weight during the menopausal transition, men tend to accumulate an excess of fat mass earlier in life for as yet unknown reasons. Consequently, an increasing proportion of older adults are now obese. Obesity’s association with metabolic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is widely recognized. However, recent evidence shows that, in older adults, obesity is also related to functional impairment and decreased quality of life. This review addresses the actual prevalence and definition of obesity in older adults, the energy-balance equation, and the known consequences of obesity. Finally, the heterogeneity of obesity in older adults regarding its association with metabolic diseases and functional capacity will be discussed, as well as how obesity treatment should be conducted in this population.
Key words: obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, weight loss, impaired functional capacity.